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Plane from Hudson 'miracle' museum-bound

The US Airways jetliner from the "miracle on the Hudson" landing in January 2009 will finally reach its destination, but as a museum piece rather than in service.

The Carolinas Aviation Museum has almost completed an agreement to buy the damaged plane from the insurance company that owns it, museum President Shawn A. Dorsch said Wednesday.

The museum is in Charlotte, which was the destination of US Airways Flight 1549 until a flock of geese disabled the engines. Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III glided it to a safe landing on the Hudson River in New York City shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport, and all 155 passengers and crew members were rescued.

Dorsch would not disclose the cost of the plane. The fuselage is in a New Jersey warehouse, and he said he hopes to have the jet on display by May.

"It will be trucked down here and will be reassembled in the configuration it came out of the water," Dorsch said. "And it will be reassembled as it came out of the water. So the artifact will be conserved, as opposed to restored."

Dorsch said the Airbus A320 will provide a boost to the museum, which attracts about 30,000 visitors a year -- a number that could increase to more than 100,000 once the plane goes on display. The museum, which opened 19 years ago, has over 50 aircraft in its collection.

"It's a fantastic piece of history," Dorsch said.

Dorsch said the project began last year during a trip to Japan. In a Japanese airport, he noticed an exhibit honoring Flight 1549. "I realized that 1549 was not just an aviation icon; it was an internationally recognized aviation icon," he said.

So he contacted US Airways and the project took off from there, Dorsch said. US Airways helped put Dorsch in touch with the right people at the insurance company that owned the plane.

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